From day one of this year, the common theme has been change. This seems to be a pivotal year for me. I don’t know why other than there is no more doubt about how our thoughts shape our universe.
I’m not sure where this post is heading. I have no plans for it. I only know at the end of my day last night and it really was the end of the day, midnight, I had a deep desire to write a post for my blog, sharing as you will, the joy of my day.
Over the past couple of days, I was led to making a few decisions. These decisions were based on signs which, I feel, was the universe/god leading me towards developing a life I have been secretly thinking and wanting.
As much as I have suffered through the past two months about my job situation, these weeks have been the most I have felt alive. Not because of the stress, but because it opened a door which had been locked since I left high school and was no longer under the tutelage of my art teacher.
At that time I had no idea, none what-so-ever, of how the lack of his presence would effect me. There are few teachers in my life which I hold with such fondness as my art teacher. Only one other holds that status and he was my math teacher. One I know by his first name, the other I know by the Mr. so-and-so a form of formal respect. I find it interesting it was my math teacher who wanted us to call him by his first name. My art teacher was not formal, it was just the respect he generated.
I never felt confined, or restrained by either teacher. I felt guided by them. When I graduated both hoped I would enter into a career which supported my talents in both areas. I was torn because I didn’t think a career existed which contained both so I ended up in a career which fed my logical side and basically ignored my creative side. The door slammed on my creative side, though I delved into things like knitting, crochet, jewelry making, polymer clay, and so forth. The one thing which eluded me was the artist I had discovered upon my first introduction with Mr. so-and-so. I would pick up a pencil to draw only to find my inner voice telling me each line I drew wasn’t good enough and the end result would be a horrible mess. Usually the pencil and paper were put away before I even got started.
Why do I say this? What does this have to do with anything? It has a lot to do with everything. Sometimes we believe our own lies about ourselves, for whatever reason. It is hard to fathom the reasons but they are there somewhere. Though I had wonderful memories of the pieces of art I created which my teacher selected, asking permission to keep, knowing he would not do so if they were not ‘good’ in his eyes, I allowed myself to shut away that part of myself believing her incapable of doing anything beautiful even if only in my eyes. The biggest challenge I have had in my life is changing those negative thoughts, emotions, and actions which have frozen me into a capsule, never changing, never growing.
Sometimes, it takes our world falling down around us, in order to shake free the confining walls we, ourselves have built. Sometimes those events are like our own personal emotional, psychological, earthquake which shatters everything around us, demolishing everything, making us rebuild, giving us the freedom to rebuild, re-create our universe.
At first, all we see is the devastation.
At first, all we feel is the emotional turmoil of what was familiar being yank out from under us. Like a child being carried away with no hopes of ever seeing again.
Sometimes, we never see the beauty of the land until all the rubble has been removed, and it is up to us to remove the rubble, if we don’t, then we stand within it for the rest of our lives.
Over the past few weeks, I have felt all of this and more. I have stood within my own rubble. Before I started clearing the first piece, I found a door which had been locked and closed for years, now shattered and hanging on its hinges. No more could it be slammed closed and locked.
I didn’t even have to walk through it in order to reach what had been shut away behind it. That something was so powerful, all on its own, it came pouring out to embrace me. Thank god I never had the thought, “I didn’t deserve it”. If I had, I might not have embraced it as it did me. I might have taken the rubble and tried to slam it back behind another door, well aware, that once the door was shattered nothing would ever be as strong as the original. Thank god I didn’t.
In the midst of the rubble, in the midst of the tremors following the major quake, I had increasing moments of joy, of profound joy and moments of clarity. Memories surfaced of years and years ago under the tutelage of my master, the artist, who at no time ever made me feel like he was my master. I did his bidding. I blossomed under his guidance. Those moments are forever imprinted upon me which I cherish today.
My artist finally came out to play.
I finally have direction which is inspiring and creative, every single day.
I no longer stand within the rubble.
I find inspiration in almost everything. I find the universe/god provides signs. Signs which direct me, guide me. How can I say this without sounding like I’m crazy? I make a concerted effort to not talk about god or my beliefs in the supernatural. So, I will leave it at this. The signs in my life tell me if I’m taking the path which is meant for me. I have learned if things come easily to me, then most likely I’m on the right path. If I have to struggle in order to get to a certain place, then maybe it wasn’t meant for me. Some people might say that isn’t the case, that struggles are what make us appreciate it more. In my life, that isn’t necessarily the case. Some again would ask, well what about all that has happened since January? I would tell them, that happened because I wasn’t taking the path which was meant for me.
At some point I should have left the path I had chosen after high school. I should have embraced my inner artist and built a more creative life. Maybe, I was meant to live in that logical, non-creative universe in order to fully embrace my inner artist, who knows. I only know that now, my life is changing, and I am finding the joy I’ve always dreamed of. Whatever, happened is what was meant to happen. Things happen the way they do for a reason. I am a firm believer in that. When I am stubborn. When I ignore the signs. That is when the universe/god creates these great upheavals to shake my foundation, to destroy my landscape, making me rebuild.
I could have rebuilt everything into the same image it was in before the shakeup. I could have. The point is, I didn’t want to. Something had snapped within me. Something had shattered beyond just the landscape. Our thoughts shape our world and a few years ago my intent became firm to find a way back to my inner artist. Every night I sat drawing, picking up a pen instead of a pencil, forcing myself to accept the mistakes I perceived I made. Each night I challenged myself to just draw and not worry about the outcome. This proved to the universe/god that I was finally ready. Ready to embrace my inner artist. Ready to know my true self.
And so the journey began.
Being diagnosed with cancer shook apart some of that foundation, some of the landscape, but not enough. It made me alter my priorities. I no longer cared about the work I was doing. I found it meaningless. I found it empty and realized I had felt that way but ignored it for most of my career. However, the diagnosis of cancer, treatment and continued recovery was not enough to make me leave and find something else. I am still healing from the damage done to my body. As long as I remained in that environment, my healing would never be complete.
These past couple of months or several weeks were required. They were required in order to demolish the rest of the landscape and crumble the foundation in order to embrace my inner artist and true self. The choices I make now are to support my new universe, the needs of my inner artist, and to create new growth.
I spend hours sometimes watching other artists, crafters, designers, creationists develop and share their skills. I take what I learn from them and find ways to use it, experiment with it, and add to my skills. One person in particular I find is not only very skilled and quite vast in her knowledge, I find she is becoming, in my mind, very much like my art teacher Mr. so-and-so became for me. I love her easy way of sharing what she knows. She shares how she does things while encouraging others to find their own way of doing it. I wish I could afford her yearly subscription to her classes and maybe in time I will, so for now I have to satisfy myself with her free YouTube videos and LIVE broadcasts which I will miss watching live when I start my new job.
Her name is Barb Owen. She works in a variety of mediums. In all my life, I never had the desire to own a sewing machine. I grew up with a mother who was a seamstress, and though I learned a lot by helping her, I didn’t have the desire she did to make clothes or do alterations. My perceptions of the sewing machine was strictly for mending and sewing together pieces of cloth to make clothes. Barb Owens has changed that perception.
Have you ever looked back over your life and have moments where you wondered why in the world did you ever learn how to do that since you didn’t need that skill? Then at a later point in your life to finally find a need to utilize that skill or knowledge which finally lights that proverbial light which answers the ‘why’ you have always wondered about? I have. Watching Barb’s videos has revealed that answer. The question then was, do I do anything about it?
This is one of those times when the universe/god has a way of giving us signs we can either pay attention to or ignore. After watching her LIVE broadcast this past Friday, I felt a deep desire to own a sewing machine so I could use it in the way Barb uses it for creating paper projects, which might actually develop the love of working with fabric too.
My hand stitching of my quilted pillow case lays silent and ignored these past months after becoming frustrated with trying to mark dark fabric for my quilt stitches. Thank god I hadn’t chosen a large quilt. But who knows maybe it will get finished after all.
So, once the bug hit me, the bug I call desire started growing into an obsession. I love working with paper. Finding out I can make fabric paper from construction paper blew my mind. Finding out I can make book covers, book bindings, decorative flowers and so much more from the fabric paper made me so hungry I felt like a starving artist without any art supplies. I knew I could hand-stitch what she sewed on the machine but over the past few weeks, even without working, I find my time very valuable. I also have to admit, I love the look of machine stitching. I decided it would do no harm to research sewing machines.
No harm!… LOL
No harm!… LMAO
Oh! It didn’t do any harm, unless you consider wetting an already starving appetite. I wanted more. I spent hours researching over the weekend. During that research, I was given another sign. I came across an ad about a place which had recently acquired a huge inventory of sewing machines due to another company going out of business. It was a bankruptcy and so they were having a liquidation. I couldn’t find out what they had in inventory online, but they were within a 30 minute drive of where I live and a few minutes from a Michaels craft store. Could the sign be any plainer? I decided it couldn’t hurt to go see what they had.
Couldn’t hurt?… LOL
I had narrowed down my selection for the sewing machine I wanted to two. One cost less than the other. I would make my decision once I was at the store and had a look at them. Yes, I walked out with a sewing machine. The one that cost more. The one which was less expensive had plastic parts, feet and levers and so forth, so I decided the investment was worth it to spend a bit more and have a machine that would hold up. I purchased a Janome 3160QDC saving about 41% off the price. Maybe it was a good deal, maybe not, depends on where you look and who you talk to I guess, but for me it was a good deal.
Spending that kind of money right now in my present circumstances was a little hard to justify. Then too after I left the store, I went to Michaels and resisted buying a Silhouette Cameo which I so very much want and could be a good investment as well. Both of these, could lead to selling items of my own creation. If not, the investment will still be worth it because of the joy they will bring me in my arts and crafts. I will buy the Silhouette Cameo but I’m exercising my patience and it will be something I reward myself with when I receive my first paycheck from my new job.
On my drive home, there were a myriad of thoughts going through my mind. How could I use the sewing machine, and eventually the Silhouette Cameo to create beautiful items to sell? How could I determine what to price the items? This is where my logical side kicks into full gear and helps find the solutions. I would not have bought the sewing machine if I had no intention of using it to finish the quilted pillow I had started. The next few weeks or months will be focused on learning how to use the machine in paper crafts as well as fabric. Finishing the pillow will be a good start, one which will help me decide if quilting might be a good choice. Even if I don’t do a large quilt, I could use quilting in other ways to create smaller items in my crafting and mix with my paper projects. The possibilities are endless.
My logical mind came up with this idea. Why not start a bullet journal, one where I track my arts and crafts purchases as well as projects and what I use in them. If I track everything in the project and decide I want to sell it, then I can easily calculate an appropriate price to set. Then too, I may add to the bullet journal a page for tracking my hours at my new job. I decided to look into bullet journals and start creating my own.
Yesterday, I began my first bullet journal. I spent a lot of time on it, mostly because I was researching the different types of things to put in it. Instead of getting blank layouts, like for a calendar, I created them myself. OMG, I can’t believe how much I enjoyed planning and creating the journal. By the end of the day I had 12 pages created, only one of them blank. Ideas poured in. It is rough. It isn’t pretty, but that is okay. This will morph over time and become what I need. Writing down the things I do, things I complete is so gratifying. I plan on tracking my projects from start to finish. Being able to see daily what I do helps me to feel like I accomplished something.
First I have several projects I need to put in my journal and create a goal to finish them. One large one I could sell once it is done which it is very close to being. Selling it would help to cover the cost for other things, like the Silhouette Cameo. In the meantime, I can start working on designing other projects. Some of them will take a great deal of time to complete, while others I could complete in minutes or a couple hours. I can’t wait to start making my own fabric paper and using it to create some beautiful covers for books of all kinds, notepads, journals and so many other things.
To my bullet journal I added a couple simple pockets to hold things like the tabs I add to specific pages so I can find them easily, an invalid credit card to help me draw those crisp straight lines if I’m no where near a ruler, or I could store a small thin ruler in one of the pockets. I may even cover my bullet journal using fabric paper I create. I also want to design a pencil/pen holder into the cover.
Yesterday I took some of the decorative paper I made and made a couple more bookmarks. They weren’t the typical size of regular bookmarks. I made them smaller, two of them more like the size of a playing card. I got the idea because I used to use playing cards as bookmarks. I laminated them using the lamination sheets pre-cut into the form they use for badges so there is a slit at the top where I can add some dangling embellishments. In one of the others that was a bit larger I punched a hole, added a eyelet so I can add a thin ribbon and charms. I’m using one of the small ones for my bullet journal to mark where I am for my daily journal entry. Since the location moves I needed something which could move with it, so a tab wouldn’t work.
The added benefit to all of this? If I don’t sell what I create, I can always donate items to charity or fundraisers. I plan to continue knitting and crocheting. When I was undergoing chemo and lost my hair I had knitted a turban like head-wrap which kept my head nice and warm in the middle of winter. People asked about it. I want to make them for other chemo patients.
Time… I need more time… even when not working, I don’t have enough time… LOL